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Cancer Res. 2004 Dec 15;64(24):8919-23.

Mutations of the epidermal growth factor receptor gene in lung cancer: biological and clinical implications.

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Departments of Thoracic Surgery and Pathology and Molecular Diagnostics, Aichi Cancer Center Hospital, Nagoya, Japan.


Recently it has been reported that mutations in the tyrosine kinase domain of the epidermal growth factor receptor(EGFR) gene occur in a subset of patients with lung cancer showing a dramatic response to EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors. To gain further insights in the role of EGFR in lung carcinogenesis, we sequenced exons 18-21 of the tyrosine kinase domain using total RNA extracted from unselected 277 patients with lung cancer who underwent surgical resection and correlated the results with clinical and pathologic features. EGFR mutations were present in 111 patients (40%). Fifty-two were in-frame deletions around codons 746-750 in exon 19, 54 were point mutations including 49 at codon 858 in exon 21 and 4 at codon 719 in exon 18, and 5 were duplications/insertions mainly in exon 20. They were significantly more frequent in female (P < 0.001), adenocarcinomas (P = 0.0013), and in never-smokers (P < 0.001). Multivariate analysis suggested EGFR mutations were independently associated with adenocarcinoma histology (P = 0.0012) and smoking status (P < 0.001), but not with female gender (P = 0.9917). In adenocarcinomas, EGFR mutations were more frequent in well to moderately differentiated tumors (P < 0.001) but were independent of patient age, disease stages, or patient survival. KRAS and TP53 mutations were present in 13 and 41%, respectively. EGFR mutations never occurred in tumors with KRAS mutations, whereas EGFR mutations were independent of TP53 mutations. EGFR mutations define a distinct subset of pulmonary adenocarcinoma without KRAS mutations, which is not caused by tobacco carcinogens.

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